HealthPartners' data warehouse expands in downtown DuluthFor seven years, HealthPartners has been operating its data warehouse in the Harbor Center in downtown Duluth. And quietly growing.
By: Candace Renalls, Duluth News Tribune
For seven years, HealthPartners has been operating its data warehouse in the Harbor Center in downtown Duluth.
And quietly growing.
So much so, that it’s outgrowing its current 3,000-square-foot space on the building’s third floor and moving to the nearly 7,000-square-feet space across the hall vacated by the U.S. Census Bureau.
“We’re targeting Jan. 1 to move in,” said Jeff Shelman, a company spokesman.
Both spaces at 306 W. Michigan St. that together housed Maurices’ data center a decade ago are considered Class A office space downtown, said property manager Ryan Boman with Melhus Management Co.
HealthPartners — a regional health-care organization — opened its small office in the Harbor Center in 2005, with eight full-time employees doing computer programming for the data warehouse, supporting reports and tending to the company’s website.
It currently has 12 full-time employees. But by June it will add nine more, bringing the total staff to 21 full-time workers, plus interns, Shelman said.
Most are information technology jobs.
“Obviously we are very excited to be expanding our relationship with such a great tenant,” Boman said. “But we’re equally excited for the additional IT jobs that it will bring into our downtown.”
The nonprofit health-care system based in Bloomington, Minn., provides medical insurance and health-care services and has clinics and hospitals mostly in the Twin Cities and in western Wisconsin.
“Our organization has grown,” Shelman said. “Throughout the state, the number of our members and patients has grown significantly over the last 10 years, so there was just a need for this.”
Indeed, membership in its health and dental plans has more than doubled in 12 years, growing from 650,000 in 2000 to 1.4 million today, Shelman pointed out.
The number of employees also has grown from 9,200 in 2001 to more than 13,000 today, he said.
And the organization continues to grow. In early 2012, HealthPartners affiliated with Lakeview Health System in Stillwater, Minn. And in August, the company announced a major merger with the Park Nicollet care system effective Jan. 1.
While the company has data storage facilities in Mendota Heights, Minn., and elsewhere, the Duluth operation is the company’s only data warehouse.
And its only presence in Duluth.
HealthPartners established its data warehouse in Duluth seven years ago because office space was available in Duluth at the right price and because it was less expensive to operate in Duluth than in the Twin Cities, company officials said in 2007.
Besides saving costs, an office in Duluth was a way to keep jobs in the state, Shelman said.
“Clearly the operation in Duluth has been good for HealthPartners, and it’s good that we’re growing,” he said.